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Fulham away at Stoke ~ Match Preview

last updated Friday 14th October 2011, 4:09 PM

Fulham manager Martin Jol
Fulham manager
Martin Jol
Martin Jol
The Britannia Stadium has long been a difficult venue for all visiting teams but everything about Stoke City seems to have gone up another level this season.

The determination to build on last season's success is there for all to see, and Tony Pulis recruited better than most in the last transfer window. After three years of comfortable consolidation, you can feel the real desire to push on and raise the level of expectation.

Pulis is learning how to juggle the demands of Premier League and European competition, and feels he now has a squad with enough depth and quality to compete on both fronts - although he is looking for a return to winning ways in this match.

In contrast, Fulham head north on the back of their first win of the season after the emphatic 6-0 victory over QPR which equalled their biggest ever victory in the Premier League.

Like their opponents, they are combining the rigours of domestic and European life, and incredibly this is already their 19th competitive match of the season.

The biggest result of them all for Martin Jol, though, was the three points last time out and the way they got them which was a timely boost for the Fulham manager. In particular, Andy Johnson, who was the hat-trick hero against QPR, has been a key figure in recent weeks with his pace, movement and goalscoring touch.

Now they look for some consistency and much-needed form away from Craven Cottage - but having seen Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool all fail to win at the Britannia Stadium already this season, they know they'll have to reach the heights of a fortnight ago once again to achieve any kind of result.

  • Fulham did the double over Stoke last season, winning 2-0 home and away. However, Stoke did beat Fulham in the Carling Cup third round, also by a 2-0 scoreline.

  • Stoke's biggest victory over Fulham is 6-1 in the first-ever meeting between the sides, in December 1907. Fulham's biggest win over Stoke is also 6-1, achieved in August 1958.

  • Stoke have scored just four Premier League goals this season, fewer than any other team. They had scored twice as many at this stage last season, although were only one point and one place better off then.

  • They are unbeaten at home in this season's Premier League, having beaten Liverpool and held both Chelsea and Manchester United.

  • Stoke's Europa League campaign means this is their 15th competitive fixture of the season.

  • Ricardo Fuller has scored 49 goals for Stoke.

  • According to Opta, the ball is in play just 61% of the time during matches involving Stoke, the lowest proportion in the Premier League.

  • Fulham are one of seven clubs yet to win away from home in this season's Premier League.

  • Martin Jol's side scored just four goals in their first six league matches - before putting six past QPR last time out, equalling their biggest win in the Premier League. It was their first league win of the season.

  • Fulham have been even busier than Stoke this season - this will be their 19th competitive match of the campaign.

  • Damien Duff needs to score to reach 50 career Premier League goals.

  • Fulham's only red card of last season came when referee Martin Atkinson sent off Zoltan Gera in the 2-2 draw with Arsenal on the final day of the campaign. Atkinson has sent off four players in his seven matches this season, including Everton's Jack Rodwell a fortnight ago, a red card that was later rescinded.

Source Steve Bower at BBCSport
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